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Agencies strive to increase Oklahoma City shelters’ live release rates

From Staff Reports Published: April 23, 2009
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Oklahoma City animals in need will have a better chance of survival since the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Department and Central Oklahoma Humane Society recently beat seven other cities to win an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals partnership.

The partnership means a sharp increase in dollars, staffing and other resources for the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter from the ASPCA, which should result in dramatic increases in happy endings for shelter dogs and cats and the people who care about them.

The ASPCA Mission: Orange campaign aims to provide positive outcomes for shelter animals by increasing live-release rates through adoptions, transfers to other adoption agencies and returns to owners.

Through the initiative, the organization will invest up to $1 million in funding and resources in Oklahoma City and other partner communities, including Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss., Spokane, Wash., Charleston, N.C., Austin, Texas, Philadelphia and Tampa, Fla.

"We are working together to set a specific ,three-year target for Oklahoma City’s live-release rate, a target that will be both aggressive and achievable,” said Bert Troughton, senior director of community outreach for the ASPCA. The Oklahoma City sheltering system has seen an increase in its live-release rate during the past year, from 25 percent to 36 percent.

"We have seen that these two organizations and this community mean business when it comes to saving lives,” Troughton said. "Their enthusiasm, determination and follow-through make them a perfect candidate to advance life-saving best practices for the rest of the animal protection field.”

For example, both agencies are implementing the ASPCA’s Meet Your Match family of adoption programs, which include research-based animal behavior assessments — all aimed at increasing adoption and reducing return rates at shelters, thus combating the problem of pet overpopulation.


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